Congratulations Nick!

Nick successfully defended his thesis today, entitled “Synthetic and Biosynthetic Studies on Abyssomycin C”, and thus  ending his very successful time with the Willis group. Nick will shortly be starting a postdoctoral position with Seth Herzon at Yale University. Nick viva.jpg

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Willis group at the Mona Symposium

Chris, along with students Paul, David and Jon recently attended the Mona Symposium in Kingston, Jamaica. Chris delivered a plenary lecture, whilst Paul and David gave shorter talks. All three were very well received, and to top off an excellent conference for the group, Jon came away with a poster prize.


The standard of presentations and science on display at the Mona Symposium was exceptional, and all of us have come away full of ideas and keen to make progress with our projects.

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Jon and Edith publish in Nature Communications


Congratulations to Jon, Edith and the rest of the team involved in the pleuromutilin project, for their latest publication in Nature Communications.

In this work, the biosynthesis of the important antibiotic pleuromutilin produced by Clitopilus passeckerianus (above) was recreated in Aspergillus oryzae, allowing details of the biosynthetic pathway to be determined, and pleuromutilin derivatives with increased antibiotic activity to be produced by bio-conversion of chemically modified analogues of pleuromutilin intermediates.

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Maddie joins from the CDT for RBS 2

MaddieThe 2017 cohort of the Bristol Chemical Synthesis CDT have moved onto their second rotation, and so Maddie has joined our lab for the next 8 weeks. She completed her first rotation with the Bedford group.

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Well done Hanim!

Congratulations to our new Dr Hanim, who passed her PhD viva today, defending her thesis entitled “Synthetic and Biosynthetic Studies on the Mupirocin Antibiotic”.


Hanim celebrated with an ice cream cake, which seemed entirely appropriate!

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New members of the Willis group for 2017-18

As the new academic year kicks off, the Willis lab is suddenly a busier place thanks to an influx of new PhD and Masters students.

In the first category, Angus Weir decided that a Master’s project simply wasn’t long enough with the Willis group, so has returned to start a PhD. From the Chemical Synthesis CDT, Sbu Mbatha joins us for her first of three lab rotations.

We also have 4 new MChem students, Emyr Tayler, Sam Howard, Jenny Anderson and Adam Wdowiak. Each will be working on a different project linked to the research themes of our group.

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Dr Lisa graduates

After passing her PhD viva in January, Lisa Recnik returned to Bristol to graduate. Here she is in her ‘subtle’ graduation robes:

Lisa graduation.jpg

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